As a celebration of its 200th anniversary, Champagne Billecart-Salmon has launched a prestige Bicentenary Cuvée. Made in an extra brut style, it’s a blend of 92% Pinot Noir with 4% each of Chardonnay and Meunier, sourced from eight grand crus across the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims.
The creation of the special cuvée began with the 2012 vintage, which chef de cave Florent Nys described as ‘one of the best recent vintages in Champagne’. The blend also includes reserve wines from 2000, 2003 and 2008, with 50% of the cuvée vinified in oak.
Speaking at the launch, seventh generation family member Mathieu Roland-Billecart said: ‘With this cuvée we are trying to capture the essence of Billecart-Salmon. When we were discussing the blend, we said, “There’s only one thing it has to be: exceptional. The rest we can figure out!” It’s been designed to give massive expression in five, 10, 15 years time.’
Marked by a distinctive note of old rose from the Pinot, the nose features floral tones, with orchard fruit, toasted hazelnuts and fresh lemon zest aromas. The layered palate has a silky quality, underpinned by fresh acidity, with lemon and grapefruit citrus, shortbread, herbaceous hints and a touch of salinity that sustains the very long finish. The maison suggests pairing it with garden vegetable ravioli or risotto with sweet chestnuts.
Champagne Billecart-Salmon, which announced a rebranding with new packaging at the end of last year, was founded by Elisabeth Salmon and her husband Nicolas François Billecart, in 1818.
Commenting on the legacy of family ownership, sixth generation François Roland-Billecart, said: ‘Just like each of the vintages they have produced, successive directors of the house have all had their different and highly individual personalities. Following the founders, there have been successful entrepreneurs, talented winemakers, dedicated epicureans, wise mentors and inspired creators. Invariably, the differences between them have been overridden by the obsession that has been the common thread running from generation to generation: the quality of their wines, pursued with a passion, first, foremost and always.’
The Billecart-Salmon Bicentenary Cuvée is only available in magnum or jeroboam, with magnums retailing at around £1,000.
Billecart-Salmon UK, 020 8405 6345